I have so much administrative stuff to do this month. It felt really overwhelming at the beginning of the week, but there’s nothing like a panicked, late night list making to clarify things. It also probably helps that I’ve finally gotten the hang of Wunderlist after weaning myself off of Teuxdeux. I’ve also discerned the point of late night television shows, which is to entertain and soothe you after a long hard day at work, so I’ve been mainlining The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
And, of course, I’ve been reading. I got through Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero, The Commitments, and A Flight of Angels this week.
Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o detailed a letter she received from a fan who decided against purchasing skin lightening cream after seeing Nyong’o. Representation is so important.
This is a video of the peacock spider’s mating dance set to “YMCA.” This is why the Internet is the best.
“Dreaming Awake” is a 2012 essay by N. K. Jemisin about representation, myth, and heritage:
But my parents wanted me to be able to dream, and they knew that myths matter.
They knew this because they had been raised in the days when people like us were assumed to have no mythology, and no history worth knowing. Instead they were fed a new, carefully-constructed mythology: our ancestors were supposedly semi-animal creatures that spent all their time swinging around in the jungle until they were captured and humanized by lash and firebrand and rape. This shamed my parents — as such myths are meant to do. Generations before and including them wondered: if they truly came from such crude origins, did they have any right to want something more for themselves than powerlessness and marginalization? My parents’ generation was the first to really confront the lies in these myths, so I don’t blame them for trying to give me something better.
But as I grew older, I began to realize: the stories my parents had given me weren’t my myths, either. Not wholly, not specifically. My father has spent the past few years researching our genealogy. As far as he has been able to determine, I am many parts African, most of it probably from the western coast of the continent, though in truth we’ll probably never know. But I am also several parts American Indian — Creek/Muscogee that we know, some others that we don’t — and at least one part European. That component is probably Scots-Irish; we don’t know for sure because nobody talks about it. But that’s just the genetics. The culture in which I was reared, along the Gulf Coast of the United States, added components of Spanish and French to the mix. And the culture I’ve since adopted — New York, New York, big city of dreams — is such a stew of components that there’s no point in trying to extricate any one thing from the mass.
And no point in trying to apply any single mythology. I have nothing. I have everything. I am whatever I wish to be.
I stumbled onto the concept of the filmmaker’s “master image” this week; a single frame encapsulating everything about a filmmaker’s view on the world. I don’t know if there could be a corollary unit for prose, but I find the idea fascinating.
You all read Genevieve Valentine’s red carpet posts, right? If not, her most recent post hits all the high notes—respectful snark and spinning sf yarns out of clothes.
Coldplay remains the only band I’ve ever seen in concert (I am an introverted homebody who doesn’t drink much, so it’s not my scene), during the heady summer of Viva La Vida that gave me my taste for military jackets. They’ve since calmed down, as evidenced by their new song “Magic” off their forthcoming album Ghost Stories. Very spare, very sun-drenched.
The Final Girls (not to be confused with the television show starring Jamie Lee Curtis) is described by its director as “Pleasantville in a trashy horror movie from the ’80s with a little Back To The Future thrown in and a spoon full of Terms Of Endearment with a dash of Scream and two dollops of Purple Rose Of Cairo for good measure.” Sign me up, son! Taissa Farmiga and Malin Ackerman will star.
I’ve been yakking about “the fragmentation of popular culture especially in media” at work for days, and then Jess Plummer comes along and sums it by calling it “the demise of the monoculture” in her awesome write-up of Little Mix. Salute!
Nico Lang at the Daily Dot finds people pitting Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence against each other very interesting… especially since this time last year, the same people were pitting Anne Hathaway against Jennifer Lawrence:
But my desire to see Nyong’o honored for her work doesn’t make me root against Lawrence. I recognize that criticizing Lawrence in no way fixes the broken system of the way we judge women, whether that’s on Oscar night or in real life. You can be the Cool Girl or the New Girl, but if we destroy women in order to celebrate others, no one comes out on top.
It’s Diversity in YA’s one year anniversary, and they’re giving away tons of books to seventeen different winners. Go enter!
Trans women of color have been important and foundational members of queer liberation. This tumblr post, which starts with a video of activist Sylvia Rivera speaking at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day rally, looks at how Rivera’s legacy has been co-opted by the people who saw her as “too radical” and resists romanticizing the present (“Oh, how awful that Rivera had to fight to get onstage! Good thing treating trans women horribly is all in the past!”).
The trailer for the new Annie is out! It looks adorable, especially when Jamie Foxx gets fussy.
Harriet J’s “Another post about rape” lays bare the social constructs placed upon women that makes “quiet” rape (she didn’t fight him so it wasn’t really rape, that sort of thing) so prevalent:
That wasn’t concise at all. What I mean to say is:
The way men and women interact on a daily basis is the way they interact when rape occurs. The social dynamics we see at play between men and women are the same social dynamics that cause men to feel rape is okay, and women to feel they have no right to object. And if you accept those social interactions as normal and appropriate in your day to day life, there is absolutely no reason you should be shocked that rape occurs without screaming, without fighting, without bruising, without provocation, and without prosecution. Behavior exists on a continuum. Rape doesn’t inhabit its own little corner of the world, where everything is suddenly all different now. The behavior you accept today is the behavior that becomes rape tomorrow. And you very well might accept it then, too.
I don’t watch The Walking Dead, but goodness is this one of a kind Michonne Barbie awesome.
I have only a little love for J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, but this gif set where Zoe Saldana leads a bunch of Klingons in dance is precious.
The E! network’s first scripted television series will be about a fictious British Royal Family starring Elizabeth Hurley as the Queen. I am going to be all over this hot mess.
The fact that Disney is making a live action adaptation of The Jungle Book is news to me, as is the fact that Idris Elba will be playing—voicing, surely?—their Shere Khan. Huh. Well, the more Elba, the better, really.
I had no idea who Michael Alig was until I read this article at the Daily Beast about him. Holy crow, the nineties were another country. I’m also fascinated by the idea of New York as consumable culture.
This is a photo of Frozen’s Best Animated Feature Oscar dressed in Elsa’s dress, presented without comment.
Added: Secret City by Julia Watts (via Malinda Lo), Party Monster by James St. James (via the Daily Beast)